[Jesus said] And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Carrying Their Cross
Some people pay for other people to push them. They hire personal trainers who tell them to eat less desirable food and refrain from eating the tastiest stuff. Those trainers push them to the point of pain in the gym and even strongly encourage them to keep going when they want to give up.
Why would anyone ever hire a personal trainer? It’s because they want to be better people, different people. When the personal trainers advertise their services, are they honest about what kind of pain they will put people through?
Jesus is honest about the kind of pain that comes from following him. He told his disciples that they were going to suffer. He used an expression, “carry their cross,” that implied that they would be treated like criminals.
Why would anyone ever want to put themselves through that kind of punishment? Disciples of Jesus realize that they may be misunderstood and mistreated. They find out they are fighting their own sinful flesh their whole lives. They make sacrifices, and often go unappreciated.
Why would Jesus’ disciples ever want to do that? It’s because Jesus has made them different people. They were once on the road to hell, but now they have the sure promise of eternal life in heaven. They used to live in guilt, but now they live in forgiveness.
Being a disciple of Jesus is worth all that suffering. There is glory that will be revealed in them.
Lord, lead me to bear my cross with perseverance as I look to Jesus’ cross for my strength. Amen.